African art > Mask > Bamanat Mask
Markha Bambara polychrome hem mask (N° 17829)
The dome that forms the base of the mask is topped by a long emaciated face whose ringed neck ends in the posterior part. Bringing together animal and human details, this mask recalls the Ci Wara cimiers promoting fertility. It has a curved flat horn. Multicolored geometric patterns and graphic symbols are painted on this mask, likely in relation to the sixteen signs used in geomancia in the Bambaras. The zigzag lines would represent the movements of the sun, with certain angles showing the cardinal points, with each additional element participating in the reading of these signs. Polychrome patina, desication cracks, polychromy abrasions.
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Markha are organized into structured and hierarchical mask societies. They have an initiation language, a means of communication in the hands of insiders. The Markha, also known as Warka , inhabit the northern Bambara territory and have, therefore, been influenced by them especially in the design of their masks. The Markha, like the Bambara and the Bozo, have the peculiarity of adorning their statuary with brass plates inscented with motifs. Besides the similarities between markha and bambara art, they also have in common institutions.
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